Natural gas isn’t worth the risks

Natural gas isn't worth the risks I'm a trained pipe-fitter with engineering experience and also a trained firefighter. After careful consideration of plans to convert the Watson Lake power plant to run on a mixture of diesel fuel and natural gas, I've

I’m a trained pipe-fitter with engineering experience and also a trained firefighter. After careful consideration of plans to convert the Watson Lake power plant to run on a mixture of diesel fuel and natural gas, I’ve come to the following conclusions and oppose the project.

1) Liquefied natural gas is a dangerous substance in its cryogenic stage and can be handled and stored only with expensive and complicated equipment. All equipment can fail. Just see what was happening in west Texas last week or in Evanston, Wyoming, this Sunday.

2) From a firefighter’s point of view there is no way that the capacity of the Watson Lake fire department could safely mitigate any larger size of leakage or fire caused by liquefied natural gas. The needed evacuation distance is so large that it would make the nearby Robert Campbell Highway impassable.

In case of a larger spill, the whole of Watson Lake would have to be evacuated, because it would lie in the fire zone in case of an explosion of the tank. In case of a large incident there would be no time to evacuate. An explosion with no snow cover would ignite a large forest fire, closing the Alaska Highway.

3) The size of the proposed earthen berm, which would contain 110 per cent of the nominal tank size (55,000 ltr.), is a joke. LNG contains 600 times the volume of natural gas. That enclosure would have to hold 33 million litres or 33,000 cubic metres. Then, in case of a leak, that is what it will expand to and then the gas will still evaporate into the air and could ignite.

4) LNG is a very harmful substance to the environment because it is mainly methane. If methane is freely released into the atmosphere it is 20 to a 100 times more dangerous as a greenhouse gas than CO2 over time. LNG is, in its cradle-to-grave cycle, much worse than coal for the environment.

5) LNG is not a transition fuel – it is only the extension of the insane fossil fuel addiction. It is also very costly in the long run, dangerous to humans and the environment, and it is a finite fossil fuel. So it is time to stop using fossil fuels. If this kind of fuel would not receive such large government subsidies, it would not be economically feasible to use LNG for commercial use.

Solution: invest money planned for this project in alternative sustainable energy, like wind, solar and biomass. This would also create many more needed jobs locally and boost tax revenues.

Werner Rhein

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Most Read